My fellow Americans, thank you for your applause. I savor the sound of
it because I may not be hearing that much of it in the next few
minutes or over the next four years.
Because I stand before the people of this great nation and the
citizens of the world to declare war, not a metaphorical war, because
those don't work. We declared war on Cancer, and Cancer is still with
us, we declared war on Poverty, and Poverty is still with us. I'm
declaring a real war as controversial and expensive as it may be, and
it will be both. I'm asking for your support in a war against fossil
During World War Two, this country spent a huge amount of money (in
secret) on the Manhattan project. That project yielded the first
atomic weapons and ended the war in the Pacific and arguably kept the
world out of another World War.
In the 60's President Kennedy pledged that America would put a man on
the Moon by the end of the decade. We spent a vast amount of money
(that many said would be better spent on Earth) to do just that, and
many of the technological benefits we enjoy today came from the money
we had the vision to spent then.
Those projects required money and commitment, but they did not require
a conscious sacrifice by the American people.this one will.
For too long we have elected members of Congress because they told us
what we wanted to hear, low taxes, more jobs and a promise to fight
for you against the Washington insiders. We just had a Congress and a
President that promised a continuation of the American way of life.
And where did it get us? It got an economy that has thrived on oil and
coal, power sources that were always dirty. but had until recently
been cheap. It got us an economy that spews more global-warming gases
per capita that any on Earth. It got us a mindset that spent vast
amounts on roads and bridges and relatively little on mass
transportation. It got us a Congress bought by the fossil fuels
industry, and a culture that saw two big gas-guzzling cars per family
and some of the cheapest gas on the planet (and it still is even at
close to $5 a gallon) as a birthright.
The Vice-President in the last administration said "We can't conserve
our way out of the energy crisis". Well, I'm going to use a word here
you've never heard in an inaugural address. Bullshit! We can conserve
and we will, and we're going to start right now. I am immediately
lowering the nation's speed limit to 55 mph. That will save us
millions of barrels of imported oil.
I'm asking members of the new Congress to raise the federal gas tax
from the current 18.4 cents a gallon to $4 a gallon in six month
increments of $.50. That money will go to defray the most expensive
project in the history of this planet, a project to transform this
country and by example every developed country on Earth from
dependency on a resource that is slowly killing us, by way of global
warming and political instability in the oil producing regions, into
the model of clean, cheap and dependable energy that neither harms the
planet or those that live on it.
I'm naming this project "Terra Nova" New Earth. Over the next few
days I will be naming members of a commission made up of this
country's best and brightest scientists, businessmen and scholars to
head up the "Terra Nova" project. They will work on their own, with no
political input, to decide the best, most efficient way to create and
implement new, clean, global power for everyone. I expect this project
to be funded and authorized by Congress in 30 days. I will not
tolerate partisanship or parochialism in this process.
I expect research to begin in 90 days, with funding in place by that
time. I envision the creation of millions of new jobs and by the year
2015 I expect a clean, cheap and safe network of national high speed
and clean rail transportation carrying much of the cargo and people
now moved by cars and trucks. I expect breakthroughs on safe, clean
nuclear power and a solution of the waste storage problem. I expect
solar, wind and hydrogen to fuel the next generation of cars and
homes, and I expect ships and planes to be both cleaner and more
This new technology will not be patented, it will become public record
so that private industry here and in other countries can move on
parallel tracks. I expect Americans to embrace a time when we roll up
our sleeves and show the world how industrious and inventive we are,
in case they forgot, and in case we forgot ourselves
I expect oil prices to drop on the news of this project, if that
happens, I will expect Congress to immediately raise the federal tax
on gasoline so that the retail price never drops below where it is
today. I will not permit the luxury of going back to where cheap oil
This country is going forward in a transformation that will require
hard work and sacrifice from us all. I hope today will be remembered
by historians as the day America reclaimed it's place as the country
other countries respect and trust.
One more thing, I will not run for reelection, if I'm right about this
project there's nobody who can beat me in four years. If I'm wrong,
there's nobody I can beat.